Spring Blooms: Bristly Oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides) photographed between Charles Seale-Hayne Library and Portland Street. Captured by Man To, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare, for the 2024 Biodiversity Photography Competition.
Spring Blooms: Bristly Oxtongue (Helminthotheca echioides) photographed between Charles Seale-Hayne Library and Portland Street.
Captured by Man To, BSc (Hons) Animal Behaviour and Welfare, for the 2024 Biodiversity Photography Competition.
We're maintaining the levels of green space on campus since 2011 levels and increasing the provision for biodiversity on campus.

Our commitment

The University is committed to sustainable development, through research and education, and biodiversity must be fully incorporated into both the staff and students’ learning and experience. 
We aim to:
  1. Measure biodiversity at both Main Campus and DRF/JBB locations, to understand the baseline (and subsequent year) levels and report these figures on an annual basis to the Sustainability Advisory Group (SAG). 
  2. Manage, protect and increase biodiversity across the two locations measurable by the annual report, and consider options to create new opportunities for nature within the estate by 2027.
  3. Find the baseline of and subsequently measure the formal use on an annual basis for biodiversity education and engagement across the two locations, utilising the outdoor spaces for formal and informal learning by students and staff.
  4. Incorporate consideration of biodiversity impacts and practices into development strategies, design and materials purchasing to protect green spaces and biodiversity levels to improve on business as usual by 2027.
Our performance:
  • Green Flag Award held for Drakes Place and Reservoir for nine consecutive years.
  • Remodeling of Glanville Street included green roofs on cycle storage.
  • Establishment of Biodiversity Working Group with cross institutional representations from both staff and students.
  • Roof garden installed on Babbage.
  • Informal education of nature on campus highlighted by Student Photography Competition, ran in collaboration with UPSU.
  • Signed the Nature Positives Universities Pledge.

Main Campus

Our main campus is an intensely occupied and compact urban campus, with dense development. This doesn’t mean however that we don’t ensure space for biodiversity to thrive and indeed have several trees that are subject to Tree Preservation Orders in our care, with additional trees planted as part of the 150 year anniversary. The 10 year masterplan includes development of green spaces and smaller elements across campus such as planters and our sedum cycle roofs are part of this vision. The open and green spaces on our main campus are permanently free to access by the public.

Drakes Place and Reservoir 

The gardens incorporate lawn, wildflower and woodland wildflower areas around the reservoir, as well as shrubs, flower beds and large trees. The historic significance of Drake's Place includes the cascade and stream, which help to provide a peaceful and atmospheric space to enjoy. 
Drake’s Place and Reservoir is a place where students, staff and the general public can go to relax, learn and volunteer. The space has also been awarded Green Flag award since 2015. You can find out more about the free and publicly accessible £1.4 million restoration project on our Drake's Place page. 
Drakes Place
Sustainability Hub

Sustainability Hub and CobBauge

Following the refurbishment of the Sustainability Hub there is now an internal and external living green wall covering 80 square meters with over 90 plants per square meter.
Opposite the Hub we have the innovative CobBauge building, surrounded by trees, perennial grasses, bulbs, herbs and native woodland plants.

Physic Garden

Located on the south side of Portland Villas, this has been undergoing refurbishment and the Staff Gardening Group has started work on the space in 2024. Here we will undertake projects that link outdoor learning to curriculum engagement for sustainability and for groups to get involved in growing vegetables, herbs and insect friendly planting and Portland Villas is where our apiary resides. 
We have two bee hives that are managed by a group of keen volunteers from departments across the University and led by the School of Art and Media.  
Physic Garden
Skardon Garden

The Park

Part of the campus masterplan, this will be located where the Brunel building currently sits. The refurbishment of Babbage includes a roof garden. Once created, the Park will be free and accessible to the general public. 
New engineering and design facility

North Square

In 2014 the Isaac Foot building was demolished to make way for a green lawn and wildflowers between the Mary Newman and Francis Drake Halls of Residence. In 2023 this was converted to a contractor's compound as part of the Fitzroy refurbishment.

The Nursery

Children from Freshlings Nursery take part in the growing activities – with their own space outside the nursery on Endsleigh Place. 

Derriford Research Facility and John Bull Building

Derriford Research Facility and John Bull Building 

Located next to Derriford Hospital, the buildings are set in parkland, with mature trees and shrubs. The grounds contain woodland, an orchard, scrub as well as areas with shrubs and other plants. The Peninsula School of Dentistry sits within the landscaped area that is the responsibility of the University grounds and landscape maintenance. We are fortunate that this site has green space directly adjacent to the Bircham Valley Local Nature Reserve, which is permanently free to access by the public.
Derriford Research Facility and John Bull Building

Other locations

Get involved

All students and staff can become a citizen scientist by adding their own observations to our Main Campus iNaturalist project. They can also get involved with the beekeeping group, with students able to join group such as the Gardening Society and Hedgehog Friendly Campus through UPSU
As a student you can share ideas for improvement through student representatives, who have an invitation to the Biodiversity Sub Group, reporting directly into Sustainability Advisory Group.
Collaborations between the University and UPSU have included the 2024 Biodiversity Photography Competition. One of the highly commended photos is shown on the right. Taken by Eve Pryor, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering student, adjacent to our “Hope” memorial statue.
'Hope' brings spring time blossom. Eve Pryor, BEng (Hons) Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Discover more

Sustainability is embedded not just in operations across the University but also in our course provision, education methods and research.

Dartmoor expedition

Sustainability courses and programmes
Plymouth offers a range of sustainability themed courses and programmes across many disciplines.

Sustainability education

Sustainability education
Discover how the Centre for Sustainable Futures works to embed sustainability across our faculties.

Aerial view from high altitude of little planet earth with small village houses and distant green cultivated agricultural fields with growing crops on bright summer evening

Sustainability research
Our Sustainable Earth Institute is about advancing research, knowledge and innovation for a more sustainable Earth.